Walking the Talk

It's sometimes best to take your own advice. Last week, you and I explored how we could discover new images in our work by taking a little extra time to see what we could see in those lost frames packed away in the dusty folders of our photographic archives.

After a few days working on other projects (The SRO Show #019 / Journey and #020 / Pat Benatar) I came back to give the photos from my latest road trip for a second look.

I found a number of good shots that I'd overlooked before and ended up tweaking a shot that I'd originally included as my "selects."

Click to view larger images.

From left to write, let me briefly tell you what I saw on this pass through images I'd seen dozens of times before.

1) Color. My original thought was to go for a monochrome treatment of the interior of St. Augustine's Cathedral in Tucson. But the more I looked at the vivid, yet understated colors in the original HDR image, the more it caught my eye. So, now I have a choice between color and monochrome. (It's on the bottom row of the gallery.)

2) Texture and better compositing. This is the tweaker. Or is that the tweakee? Yes, it is a composite. That eagle didn't just miraculously fly into the perfect position at the right moment. But he was just 30° above that shot seconds before I pressed the shutter to capture the outcropping of rock sitting above some buildings at Fort Davis State Park. Thank you, Nik Silver Efex Pro and Photoshop. 

3) Cropping and color. Most of my panos are stitched together after meticulously setting up camera and tripod, finding an approximation of the no-parallax point on my lens, and carefully overlapping multiple shots so Photoshop has enough in each image to mesh the images without nasty anomalies. This time, I simply put the camera on my tripod, quickly leveled it and BOOM! goes the dynamite. One shot.

4) Another damn double rainbow pano with leading lines. Of course, this happened at a brisk pace. These things can vanish as quickly as a sun sets or a cloud passes in front of the sun. I don't handhold panos very much anymore. But I've done enough that I was once very good at it. (It's all in keeping the camera level and rotating around the no-parallax point that you imagine in your mind's eye.) Because of the angle of the sun, I had to remove my shadow from the road. And the arc de ciel is slightly out of round. It's not an award-winning shot but certainly one to offer a smile in return for looking at it.

5) Texture and. . . um, more texture. Another pano (on the pod this time). This is the entrance to my room (on the right) at Indian Lodge at Fort Davis State Park. The combination of stucco and clouds just sets off the OCD side of me and I have to shoot it. There was much more top and bottom but it was just more clouds and more concrete so I didn't lose anything by cropping it square.

6) A challenge. And more texture. This last image took quite awhile in three platforms to drag out the texture while minimizing the artifacts created by processing. I used Lightroom, Photoshop, Lightroom again, and Nik Silver Efex Pro. It may come down after I've lived with it for a while, but I thought I'd give it a chance at a short life even if I don't keep it in the long run.

Go through your own castaways and give them a second — or even a 12th — look. You may be surprised what gems you'll find.

— Lawrence Standifer Stevens

Send us your own rescued photos (max. size 1000 pixels wide). Tell us what you saw to inspire you to save it and we'll discuss it here. Send them to L S S (at-sign) StudioL S S (DOTCOM). [Be sure to remove the spaces.]